History shows that with every turnover of our Executive branch, there is always some eyebrow raising, and even serious controversy as events and cabinet nominations unfold. But this changing of the guard has been fraught with more than its share of questionable if not downright objectionable picks and events. What follows is a short list of some of the more notable ones.

Appointments

Primadonald’s choice of Steve Bannen as his top national policy advisor has been received as nothing short of alarming by many with the exception of the folks among the Alt-Right who view Bannen as in league with their own White supremacist/ nationalistic biases. Of course, a blend of nationalistic populism is what Trump ran on, so this selection should come as no surprise. But, one must wonder how the new president plans to unite the country with such a patently divisive figure the closest to his ear?

Just as disconcerting, though for very different reasons, was the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As has been widely publicized, Carson is a renown pediatric neurosurgeon with an extensive background in medical science. On the face of it, he would be a perfect fit as the country’s Surgeon General. Instead, this man, who may be unable to distinguish between an outhouse and a penthouse, will be in change of one of the federal government’s largest and most complex bureaucracies.

Economic protectionism

It is part of conservative economic orthodoxy that free markets reign supreme making protectionism, anathema. Proving that he is a conservative only when it suits him, Primadonald has thus far, taken two opportunities to fly in the face of these shibboleths. (1) In  the first of these, he got his VP Mike Pence, still governor of Indiana, to pony up $ 7 million of the state’s taxpayers’ money to keep the Carrier Air Conditioning plant from shipping 800 jobs off to Mexico. (2), never mind that in spite of this ransom, 1,300 jobs will still decamp for our southern neighbor. Even Sarah Palin of all people, was astute enough to call this what it is; i.e., “crony capitalism”.

Second, there is Primadonald’s full-throated boast that he would penalize any US company that shifted its plants with or without attendant jobs, out of our country. The penalty is to take the form of a “35% tariff” on any products that guilty enterprises seek to bring back here for sale. Of course, by default, this protects companies that “stay home” and gives them a competitive advantage over those who move elsewhere. There is not a thing free market about this.

Events

As of the date of this blog, there are two that stand out:  Primadonald’s claim that “1 million illegals voted” in the last election. As matters fact, no such irregularities were noted on a national level. At the state level, the same claim was used by North Carolina’s sitting governor McCrory to challenge his failure to get re-elected. Again, no such evidence was found. And then there are the ongoing re-counts  in Wisconsin and Michigan. While that process is still incomplete, preliminary findings point to the absence of anything untoward having taken place. (3)

Lastly, there is the phone conversation that took place between Primadonald and the president of Taiwan. Initially described as nothing more than a courtesy call, it is now becoming apparent that plans for a more substantive conversation had been in the works for some time, a stark departure from our country’s longstanding policy regarding mainland China and the Chinese government-in-exile on Taiwan. Trump should have known better, but he seems to be developing the habit of skipping intelligence briefings.

End notes

Given the president-elect’s penchant for shooting from the hip and doing the unconventional, it’s likely that another blog, similar in content to this one, will follow. Perhaps none of this should be surprising, given that Primadonald has been unconventional from the get-go.

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  1. Way back when Primadonald first became a candidate for the GOP nomination, folks who were familiar with his record of public statements, warned, “He’s not a conservative”. Now we know that this caveat had merit.
  2. What has barely been reported is that on top of the aforementioned $7 million, between 2013 and 2015, Carrier received from the state of Indiana, a $500,000. job training grant. On that sum $380,000 went into the company’s hands. The remaining balance of $120,000. was forfeited by Carrier when the newer $7 million pay-out came into being.
  3. On a Sunday political talk show, VP Pense defended his new boss’s distortion of reality, claiming that the new president had a right to express his “opinion”, no matter that this view was at wide variance with confirmed observations. Be warned…we are now well into an era of American life wherein facts no longer matter, and our leaders see no reason to articulate opinions that are informed by facts and evidence.

 

 

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